EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Gimpanzee and Greenshoe are the morning-line favorites for the two divisions of the $1.2 million Hambletonian at The Meadowlands on Saturday.
A field of 16 was entered Tuesday for the 94th running of trotting's biggest race for 3-year-olds. Eight Standardbreds will compete in each $100,000 division and the top five finishers in each heat will advance to the $1 million final later on the card.
Gimpanzee is the 2-1 choice in the first elimination. Greenshoe is the 4-5 favorite in the second.
Both colts are trained by 27-year-old Marcus Melander and will be driven by Brian Sears, who will have to pick one if both make the final.
Gimpanzee is undefeated in 12 career starts. He will try to become only the second unbeaten horse to win the Hambletonian.
Deweycheatumnhowe accomplished the feat in 2008.
Owned by Courant Inc. and Lennart Agren's S R F Stable, Gimpanzee was the 2018 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. The colt, who is 3 for 3 this year, drew the No. 7 post position.
Green Manalishi is the 5-2 second choice in the opening division. Tim Tetrick is listed to drive the colt, which is also trained by Melander.
Melander had a fourth colt in the race in long shot Gerry, who will run in the second heat.
"It feels just great," said Anders Strom, who owns Courant Inc and has a share of three Melander-trainees in the Hambletonian. "Obviously, I hoped all three would stay sound and healthy for entry into the big race and here we are. Marcus has had a good plan for the three and, so far, it has worked out just fine."
Greenshoe has won four of five races this year, with his only loss a close second-place finish to Marseille in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. The colt drew the No. 5 post position.
Greenshoe heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:50.1 win in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 13 at The Meadowlands. It is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter.
Don't Let'em is the 4-1 second choice in the second heat. Yannick Gingras has the drive for Nancy Johansson-trained colt.
Cantab Fashion drew the No. 1 post in the first heat. Dexter Dunn is listed to drive the 6-1 pick.
The rest of the field in post-position order with horse, driver and odds is: Summit In Sight, Andy Miller, 20-1; Swandre The Giant, David Miller, 7-2; Soul Strong, Dunn also listed, 8-1; Mr Vicktor, Tyler Buter, 15-1; Osterc, Gingras, 15-1; Gimpanzee, Sears, 2-1 and Green Manalishi, Tetrick, 5-2.
Forbidden Forbidden has the No. 1 post position in the second heat.
The rest of the field in post-position order with horse, driver and odds is: Gerry, Orjan Kihlstrom, 20-1; Pilot Discretion, Andrew McCarthy, 10-1; Reign Of Honor, David Miller, 20-1; Greenshoe, Sears, 4-5; Don't Let'em, Gingras, 4-1; Super Schissel, Scott Zeron, 10-1; Marseille, Ake Svanstedt, 5-1.
Millies Possesion will try to remain unbeaten in nine starts in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old trotting fillies. The filly drew the No. 2 post position in the field of 10. Dexter Dunn has the drive on the 9-5 morning-line favorite.
When Dovescry, the other elimination winner, is the 5-2 second choice.